Scholars of ecocriticism have long tried to articulate emotional relationships to environments. Only recently, however, have they begun to draw on the complex interdisciplinary body of research known as affect theory. Affective Ecocriticism takes as its premise that ecocritical scholarship has much to gain from the rich work on affect and emotion happening within social and cultural theory, geography, psychology, philosophy, queer theory, feminist theory, narratology, and neuroscience, among others. This vibrant and important volume imagines a more affective—and consequently more effective—ecocriticism, as well as a more environmentally attuned affect studies.
These interdisciplinary essays model a range of approaches to emotion and affect in considering a variety of primary texts, including short story collections, films, poetry, curricular programs, and contentious geopolitical locales such as Canada’s Tar Sands. Several chapters deal skeptically with familiar environmentalist affects like love, hope, resilience, and optimism; others consider what are often understood as negative emotions, such as anxiety, disappointment, and homesickness—all with an eye toward reinvigorating or reconsidering their utility for the environmental humanities and environmentalism. Affective Ecocriticism offers an accessible approach to this theoretical intersection that will speak to readers across multiple disciplinary and geographic locations.
About the Author
Kyle Bladow is an assistant professor of Native American studies at Northland College. Jennifer Ladino is an associate professor of English at the University of Idaho. She is the author of Reclaiming Nostalgia: Longing for Nature in American Literature.
"Affective Ecocriticism: Emotion, Embodiment, Environment imagines fresh critical responses to the problem of altered landscapes and the human costs of ongoing environmental trauma. . . . It asks us to imagine a broader spectrum of emotional possibility and to reevaluate those feelings already in our activist toolkit."—William V. Lombardi, Environmental History
"Beyond critiquing the cultural logic of a human-dominated geologic interval and all that comes with it, the environmental humanities can offer a clearer sense of the Anthropocene’s ecological affects. In articulating scholarly versions of such emotional attunements, Affective Ecocriticism represents an exciting, ground-breaking vision of how such a project might proceed."—Andrew Ross, ISLE: Interdisciplinary Studies in Literature and Environment
"These essays, diverse in method, topic, and style, show that an affective ecocriticism offers numerous tools for understanding our present moment and imagining new futures."—Shelby Brewster, H-Environment
"This volume provides a refreshingly sophisticated approach for integrating the interdisciplinary field of affect theory with ecocritical analysis."—Patrick D. Murphy, Western American Literature
“Affective Ecocriticism cements the importance of affect—and not only data or narrative—to understanding current environmental crises and relations. It also posits how affect bears on acting on these crises (or not) and pivoting our relations. That is, the essays here aren’t merely descriptive or diagnostic; they also look to possibilities for response.”—Heather Houser, associate professor of English at the University of Texas at Austin and author of Ecosickness in Contemporary U.S. Fiction: Environment and Affect
“Affect theory and ecocriticism are both already vibrant fields of inquiry, but Affective Ecocriticism makes a strong case for their inherent compatibility. This field-defining book demonstrates the deeper ground that both of these approaches might find were they to understand the basic fact of their shared concerns, methods, and aims.”—Rachel Greenwald Smith, associate professor of English at Saint Louis University and author of Affect and American Literature in the Age of Neoliberalism